Some 235 houses were razed in a two-hour fire that engulfed a village in Isabela City, the capital of Basilan province, on Saturday.
Lt. Col. Julpikar Sitin, Isabela City Police Station commander, said the fire broke out around 9 a.m. in Barangay Kaumpurnah Zone 1 and was controlled after two hours.
Sitin said the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is investigating the origin of the blaze that rendered some 500 families homeless.
Initial investigation showed the fire started from one of the houses in the barangay and rapidly spread to nearby houses mostly made of light materials and reached the border with Barangay Port Area.
The BFP has yet to determine the worth of the damaged properties.
Mayor Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman has mobilized the local government resources to provide relief assistance to the displaced families staying at the Basilan National High School.
Basilan Lone District Rep. Mujiv Hataman has also extended relief aid to the fire victims.